The Aglish Big Bell Tree 1834

In Aglish churchyard stand a large ash tree, partly growing and partly rotten, about three miles to the north of Borrisokane, in the county of Tipperary. It is called by the neighbouring inhabitants the Big Bell Tree. The reason why so called is on account of a large bell being once suspended on its branches; as a proof of which the beam that supported the bell was to be seen until a few years ago. Convenient to the tree is the ruins of an old church, that gave name to the parish of Aglish, in which it is situated, and to which the bell belonged.

It is traditionally recorded that in whatever house a portion of this tree should be burnt, the house will meet with the same fate, which though a piece of superstition has been productive of some good; for there would be scarcely a branch of the venerable tree remaining at this day, was there not some such tale circulated. There is a hollow between the branches of the part still growing, from which holy water used formerly to be taken. It was all standing (though one half being entirely rotten) until a few years ago, when the rotten part was blown down by the storm. Comerford, in his history of Ireland relates that St. Ruaden, founder of the Abbey of Lurche, wrote the history of a wonderful tree. Now as this tree is but a few miles distant from Lurche or Lorhagh, and being from time immemorial in a decayed state, we may reasonably conjecture that is was the subject of his history. From a slight examination a person would be lead to suppose that they were two separate trees, but it is plain from the appearance of the roots that it was once a solid tree, it is impossible to give its exact dimensions, but when it was all sound it must have measured, at least, thirty feet in circumference. Its height from the ground to the first branch measures ten feet, and from the standing spike to the farthest edge from the sound part, measures seven feet five inches.